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Pouteria sapota - Red mamey


Native to:



Central America.

Humid lowland woodland. 25 meter tall tree, up to 110 meters above sea level.

Pouteria sapota - Red mamey

Ecological value:

Easy maintenance. Grown in soil that is not very fertile but is susceptible to drought. Genus pollinated by bees and other insects. Belongs to a genus of over 200 species primarily in the American tropics.

Material uses:

Seed kernel yields a 45-60% semi-solid edible, oil, called sapuyulo or zapoyola, which was formerly used to fix paintings on handicrafts. Wood, used in general construction, carts and furniture. Rarely cut down as its a valued cropper.

Edible uses:

Fruit, fresh, often with lemon juice, or preserved. Used in ice cream and sherbets. In Mexico the seeds are milled and used in confectioneries and, alone or with cacao, to prepare a bitter chocolate.

Medicinal use:

Seed-kernel oil used for a hair or skin product to either prevent hair loss, remove warts, fungal skin infections. Also aids in digestion. It is still used as a sedative in ear and eye ailments.

Other details:

Seed has stupefying properties. Grows to 15-45m tall. Used as shade tree for coffee. Prolific cropper- 200-500 fruit per year. Ornamental value. Milky sap from tree is an eye irritant and leaves are considered poisonous.


Jennifer Yaing/Christine Facella


“Pouteria Sapota (Jacq.) H.E.Moore & Stearn | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 16, 2023.
“Pouteria Sapota - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 16, 2023.
Facciola. S., ‘Cornucopia II’, Kampong Publications, California, 1998
Huxley. A., ‘The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992’, MacMillan Press, 1992
Martínez-Castillo, ‘Structure and genetic diversity in wild and cultivated populations of Zapote mamey (Pouteria sapota, Sapotaceae) from southeastern Mexico: its putative domestication center’, U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2019
Image source: PDH.

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